Things I’ve done to procrastinate today:
Take the dog on a walk
Listen to a podcast
Eat a snack
[Go to a meeting]
Make some tea
Eat early lunch
Run to the grocery store (just real fast)
Search Craigslist for various cars and pieces of furniture
Eat an apple
Search Zillow in five different cities (just in case)
[Respond to one work email]
Read neighborhood newsletter
Order replacement CrockPot piece
Think about everything I’ve done wrong in life
Research skin care brands
Learn all the words to JT’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling”
Realize I now have four hours until deadline
Write list of everything I’ve done to procrastinate today
GET TO WORK
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Things I’ve done to procrastinate today:
Recently, I was talking to a sweet man from overseas. I’ve known him peripherally for a lot of years, although this was one of the only times we’d really talked.
He asked, “Why are you not married?”
I laughed. “I ask myself that all the time! I guess I just haven’t met the right person yet.”
“But how old are you?”
“I’m about to be 32.”
He paused, and then spoke slowly. “It’s okay. You still look young.”
Just the other day, I was reminiscing with my mom about 2011 (i.e. The Worst Year Ever) – and while she said that she has blocked out a lot of those memories, to me they’re still vivid, still shocking. Cynthia Monahon calls trauma “the occurrence of the unthinkable,” and if we’re using that definition, 2011 was traumatic in so many ways. While the events of that year aren’t as viscerally painful as they once were, sometimes I still can’t believe that they happened.
In early 2012, I remember praying that God would “throw me a fucking bone,” because God doesn’t mind an honest swear, even if some people do. And while I don’t necessarily credit that prayer with the change, I have to admit – today, things are different.
2013 was good, so good, in so many ways.
I made it through two sisters’ weddings, as well as the remarriage of my father. I experienced four different managers at work. I bought a house. I lost a beloved dog, and gained another. I found myself in Los Angeles, Nashville, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Austin, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, a beach in Florida, the summits of Colorado mountains, cocoa farms in the Dominican Republic, the shore of Lake Superior, and the seat of a bicycle (of all places). There were hours and hours of walking, hours and hours of silence, hours and hours of friendship, and many bottles of wine. I barely went to church, but I read my bible more than ever before. I chopped off my hair, and started the long, slow work of growing it back. I played my guitar. I met so many new people.
It was a rich year – not without heartache, but somehow without heartBREAK. And that was a welcome change, a gentleness I’d forgotten was possible.
Today, as I retire my 2013 calendar to the bookshelf that holds 10 years of its companions, I look ahead to 2014 – and I’m so excited. I’m just so excited for what’s on tap for this year. I can’t wait to see what the time brings – because despite my sparse church attendance this year, if there’s any promise that I love, it’s that all things are being made new.
Just a few days ago, this is where I was:
The Gulf coast of Florida is something amazing. White sands and clear water and slushy drinks and hammerhead sharks that ALMOST EAT YOU.
No joke, Miranda and I were up to our waists in the water when people on the shore started yelling and motioning us to GET OUT OF THE WATER. When was the last time someone used full arm-waving to get your attention? Let me tell you, it works. If I see a stranger-woman flailing her arms and yelling something indiscernible except for something about “teeth like razors” and “eaten alive,” you can bet I’ll hustle.*
Other than multiple shark sightings, the weekend was the most relaxing, glorious, magical experience. I was with three of my favorite people. We talked a lot. We laughed a lot. I read a lot. I barely checked into work email. I only almost-cried once (almost-cry: to be in mid-sentence when something strikes you as emotional, and your eyes burn for 3 seconds as your throat snaps shut and your voice breaks, only to recover and act like it never happened).
Catapulting out of a holiday weekend and back into Real Life, I should be all business. After taking an actual, honest-to-goodness vacation, I should be organizing my house and working out and running errands and grocery shopping and obliterating my to-do list. But right now, my throat hurts. And I think that the very best thing for me would be to practice playing “Come Together” on my guitar and congratulate myself for making it to the day-before-pay-day with a cool $1.04 remaining in my checking account.
So that’s what I’m doing tonight.
In future days, I’ll be sharing pictures of my new Shotgun house. I’ll surely have tales from my recent experimentation with CrossFit. I want to tell you about the music I’m head over heels for lately. My heart is being tugged in some very fresh and new ways. And I want to write it all down so I don’t forget, so I always remember what it feels like to be living these particular days. Time is going so fast. I want mine to count.
And I’m trying to figure out what that looks like.
*Running through water? Among the most awkward actions to attempt.
Not to be dramatic, but my goal of having zero nervous breakdowns in 2013 is hanging in the balance.
Fine, that was dramatic.
They say the only constant is change – and I hate them for it – but it’s proven true in my life time and time again. In the past few weeks, I’ve experienced changes at work, changes in relationships, changes in my bank account, changes to my reality. I’m about to be a bridesmaid for the 13th time, our family changing yet again – this time the addition of another brother-in-law. I’m in the process of purging my closet and household items, preparing for yet another move. I’m behind on all forms of personal communication, and the thought of catching up is exhausting. I just got a haircut that surprises me every time I look in the mirror (not in a good way). All the while, I’m working my tail-end off at work, coming home so mentally drained that all I want to do is turn off my phone and lean my forehead to the doorframe.
Life is going fast, and I can’t keep up. I’m trying to do everything well, which leaves me doing nothing well – and man, I love to hit the mark.
All this to say, thank you for being here, no matter how much or how little I have to offer. Right now, it feels like very little. But the opportunity to share a little sliver of my life and have it received for whatever it is (currently Crazy-Town) helps me breathe just a little bit easier.
Hanging in there, cat on a tree branch,
I’ve been in Kansas City with my family all week. Everyone is here: parents, siblings, nephews, future brother-in-law, 3 dogs, and all of the cookies in the world. Tomorrow, I load into a Subaru Forester with Becca and Michael, Gabe and Toad, Becca’s wedding dress, their wedding decorations, and all of our Christmas loot, and drive west back across Kansas for 9 hours to Denver. Heaven help us.
This is my favorite Christmas present I received:
That, my friends, is the Gregory Sage 55. If you wake up one day and I’m gone, you’ll know it’s because I loaded it with everything I need to keep myself alive and just… walked away. Because someday, that is what I fully intend on using it for.
– – – – –
And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Thank you to all who entered the Stuck giveaway! It’s an amazing study, and if you’re looking for a soul-filling challenge, Jennie Allen has good stuff. I’m excited to check out Chase and Anything, as well.
There could only be one winner, so I used my trusty pal RANDOM.ORG to pull a number. Multiple comments from the same person counted as one entry.
And the winner is:
8! Leah Van Hoozer!
Leah, I’ll send you an email to get your mailing address. Congratulations!
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Maybe I’ll write a 2012 recap before 2013 – my Google Reader tells me that recap posts are all the rage this time of year. If I don’t, though, suffice it to say that 2012 stretched me in ways I didn’t know I needed to be stretched (and, to be honest, I still don’t WANT to be stretched). I have worked really, really hard in all sorts of ways. Someone recently asked me if I was happy, and I said no.
But you know me – I’d be miserable if I was happy. SMILEY FACE.
What I do know is that I love the people in my world, and while faith does not come easily for me, I’m hanging on for dear life. I hope that 2012 has seen you hanging in there, too.
Sophomore year of high school, my algebra class was the last period of the day. Every Friday, in the last two minutes before the bell would ring, the teacher would stand up in front of his squirrelly students and give the same speech: “I know you’re anxious for the weekend. You’re thinking about all of the fun you’re going to have, all of the time with your friends, how you don’t have to come to school for two whole days. But listen: the minute you walk out that door, the clock starts. The instant that the bell rings, time starts ticking away, getting smaller and smaller and smaller. Right now – this moment – is the very best part of your weekend, because it’s all still ahead of you. But,” he would famously finish, “IT’S ALL DOWNHILL FROM HERE.”
Cue the bell ringing, and me sprinting out into the weekend, hell-bent on not losing a single second.
Who knows how formative my high school math teacher’s speech was in my current life. All I know is that I put a lot of pressure on myself to achieve, to succeed, to do more and do it well. I find it next to impossible to sit still, and it’s hard for me to separate “time rested” from “time wasted.” Add it to the list of reasons why “Annie needs therapy”: in my mind, nothing-doing is synonymous with failure.
This belief system keeps me moving at a frantic pace. My busy, busy job takes up the vast majority of my brain space, and whatever is left is instantly snatched up by family, friends, exercise, and commitments. If I have a free day, I fill it up – if I have a free HOUR, I fill it up. If “vacation” is defined as “a scheduled period in which activity is suspended,” then I have never taken a vacation. Ever.
Years of a rapid, anxiety-driven lifestyle are catching up with me. These days, I am so tired. I find it hard to breathe, and even harder to think. Stress has reached an astronomical level. My shoulders are tight and knotted. I’m starting to believe that the biblical concept of a Sabbath isn’t such a dumb idea after all.
So it’s after 9 on Sunday morning, and I’m still in bed. I skipped my original plan of getting up at 3:30am to climb two more mountains in favor of a day of nothing-doing. I can’t remember a day in which I had zero plans – and even though I’m tempted, I’m choosing to not feel guilty about allowing my heart and my brain and my body to rest today.
It’s all downhill from here. But maybe that means I can sit back, close my eyes, and just coast – if only for a day.
Thank goodness: my 2012 has dawned sunny side up.
I hope yours has, too.
I’ll see you back here whenever I have something to talk about. Maybe I’ll write a lot. Maybe I won’t. I have no idea.
But I have a feeling that this year is going to be different in all sorts of ways.
Something I Googled this morning:
Is kennel cough contagious to humans?
Because – bad news – Kodi has kennel cough. And also – bad news – it is.
– – – – – – – –
First, “The Pianist” came from Netflix. Then, “The Piano” came from Netflix.
What in the world. Why did I choose to watch these back-to-back? I’m so depressed. If you happen to know something happy, please share.
– – – – – – – –
I’m so bored of my running playlist (Roxette’s “It Must Have Been Love” is only SO inspiring – although, let’s be real, it’s pretty damn inspiring).
What are the best songs to run to? I’m thinking of utilizing this.
– – – – – – – –
Sometimes I miss Nashville so much, I can hardly breathe. The next day, it’s Seattle. Today, both are very much true.
But right now, in this moment, I choose to be present in this city, on this day, with these tasks, and these people.
I believe that the future holds good things.
But I also choose to acknowledge that the present holds good things.
It is a choice, you know.
I’m back in Nashville this week, working in the office and seeing friends. Every time I come back to Nashville, I’m struck by two things: how much this place still feels like home – and how things can’t ever be the way that they were before.
The longing for “the way things were” is my Achilles’ heel, and it has the power to sink me like a cinder block. It doesn’t matter what my present looks like, or what the past actually was like – nostalgia is a revisionist, and cuts out the tough things so that only the best memories remain.
But I’m in my little row boat on the river of life, and time is the current that’s pulling me forward, forward, forward. I’m thankful for the places I’ve seen, and the the people I’ve met, and the opportunities and adventures that have surprised me along the way. I’ve survived rapids and waterfalls and the occasional overturned boat, only to find that the stream just keeps going. Paddling back the other direction doesn’t get me very far, and leaves me frustrated and tired (not to mention hungry for a hot dog).
So I choose to be content in this little wooden vessel, oars at the ready to help determine my course, but ultimately trusting that the river is pulling me in the right direction. This week, it’s looped me back through Nashville – and as always, I’m grateful.